Searching For Jupiter
As Esbjörn Svensson's childhood friend, as well as the drummer in the trio e.s.t. with which they conquered the world, Magnus Öström felt Svensson's sudden death in 2008 more than anyone outside the immediate family. After taking time out to consider his future, Öström has found a strong way back into music, blending ominousness with optimism and building simplicity into grandeur to often epic effect. This second album, which sees the splendid pianist Daniel Karlsson join Öström's band, finds the drummer growing in confidence as a composer and referencing prog rock and fusion more than Thelonious Monk, to whom e.s.t. paid marvellous homage. The title track thrives on a riff that Hatfield And The North might have made similar play of, with Karlsson showing superb soloing imagination; elsewhere, the spirit of e.s.t. collaborator Pat Metheny emerges from the initially menacing but ultimately uplifting Hour Of The Wolf. All in all, it's a tempting advertisement for the band's Islay Jazz Festival appearances later this month.